Gwede Mantashe lashes out at Gauteng ANC

2014-10-19 15:00

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ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has taken another swipe at the party in Gauteng, saying members must choose between being “normal” like other provinces and paying to be the world-class region they aspire to.

Mantashe was responding to the Gauteng ANC’s opposition to the province’s controversial e-tolling system.

In an interview with City Press at his office in Luthuli House, Mantashe warned the Gauteng ANC not to use the upcoming national general council (NGC) as a “scarecrow” to threaten the party on issues.

The Gauteng ANC said after its leadership conference two weeks ago that it would lobby the NGC in June next year to scrap the e-tolls.

The NGC is a midterm review of ANC activities and policies.

“If you have an issue, you don’t raise it publicly and threaten the ANC. The ANC Youth League tried that during the last NGC, where they threatened that they would not back anyone who did not support their nationalisation position,” said Mantashe.

“You don’t use the NGC as a scarecrow. The purpose of the NGC is to assess the implementation of party conference resolutions.”

Mantashe said the focus on e-tolls was a narrow debate. He said Gauteng wanted to create a smart city region that would transform the province into a world-class hub. This meant upgrading infrastructure – which could lead to higher taxes.

“They can’t have it both ways.”

Mantashe played down the importance of the Gauteng conference decision on e-tolls, saying it was merely a “resolution”, not a recommendation.

“It cannot be a resolution if it has not been adopted by the rest of the ANC. The ANC is a unitary organisation, not a federation.”

He also took issue with statements by Gauteng leaders blaming the Nkandla matter for the drop in support for the party in Gauteng during May’s general elections.

“I asked them a simple question. They blame Nkandla, which is in KwaZulu-Natal, and they are in Gauteng. Why is the ANC in that province increasing support? Why is Gauteng alone affected by Nkandla?”

Mantashe said the vicious attacks on President Jacob Zuma, from all quarters, were not new and had also been directed at his predecessors in the past.

“When Mandela was the president?...?he is now the darling of everybody?...?he was constantly under attack. When Mbeki, who is all of a sudden the blue-eyed boy of everybody, was president, he was attacked more viciously than Zuma. Now it’s Zuma. I can tell you Zuma is now in the second term. He will go and there will be a new president. He will not be immune to attacks. The aim is to discredit a liberation movement, weaken it and defeat it.”

He said South Africans must learn to be patient with the current parliamentary processes into the Nkandla saga and they must not prematurely apportion blame.

Mantashe did not have harsh words only for some within his own party. He accused the Economic Freedom Fighters of adopting “anarchy and destruction as part of their strategy”.

“They are not interested in outcomes; they are interested in capturing the attention of the media and getting headlines for a week.

“Whether there’s content or no content, it doesn’t matter to them. To me, that is having a negative effect on the work of Parliament.

“I think people are beginning to put their foot down and understand that they cannot succumb to anarchy. If you reward anarchy, you embolden it.”

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